As I round up the overnight reviews of Sunset Boulevard, I can’t stop Norma Desmond’s signature diva song, “With One Look”, spooling round and round in my head. I have a feeling it may stay there for awhile.
On Sunday night, the Olivier Awards felt the absence of some of the artists involved in Sunset Boulevard – including the show’s Joe Gillis, Michael Xavier, who withdrew from hosting the Oliviers’ Covent Garden Piazza concert and lighting designer Mark Henderson, whose gong for Best Lighting Design for Gypsy was collected by the show’s producer (Henderson didn’t even provide any acceptance remarks notes, either because he really didn’t expect to win and/or he didn’t have time while preparing for this) – but the great and good of theatre didn’t allow any awards hangovers to prevent them from being on hand less than 24 hours later for this opening.
This semi-staged production of Sunset Boulevard is undoubtedly one of the major theatrical events of the year, returning Hollywood’s Glenn Close to the role of faded silent screen star Norma Desmond more than 20 years after winning a Tony Award for the role on Broadway (predictions that she’ll follow this with an Olivier in next year’s awards season are already being made). And now the rave reviews, particularly for Close, confirm that this theatrical event really is more than just hype.
Here’s a round-up of those published to date…